When a movie is called L’Art d’aimer (The Art of Love), you’d think that it is either a touching love story, a rom-com or a pretentious relationship movie.
Unfortunately this movie is more suitable to be slotted into the third category. The movie starts off quirkily in a promising manner – saying that when we fall in love with somebody, we can hear a music in our soul. L’Art d’aimer then proceeds by displaying a blank screen filled with a different colour as different snippets of classical music are played (I wonder why they are all classical music. No rock, or Marvin Gaye, or Serge Gainsbourg). Then the first character is introduced – a composer of romantic music who cannot hear his own ‘love song’.
Then that particular ‘episode’ ends abruptly – and the narrator happily comments on the next character, Isabelle (Julie Depardieu) who hasn’t had any sex in a year. Her friend Zoé (Pascale Arbillot) casually offers her husband because she feels that she should distribute wealth to her friends and help the needy. The episode is then ended again with a quote on the screen. This goes on until three-quarter of the movie before the director, Emmanuel Mouret is probably sick of the episodic movie and just sticks with the story of Amélie (Judith Godrèche) who asks Isabelle to impersonate her to sleep with her friend Boris (Laurent Stocker) – for the rest of the movie.
We see towards the end that the characters are somewhat linked, albeit very flimsily. The director is a tad wishy washy whether he should turn the movie into unrelated episodes of love like Paris, Je t’aime or seemingly-random characters that are somehow interlinked together. Nevertheless, L’Art d’aimer is like a lukewarm bisque – you eat it but it’s not really that enjoyable. There are some laughter here and there at the improbability of each story episode – but I am left frustrated as most of the stories go nowhere.
I do grasp the subtle message that love can be complex and that it still need some spices to liven it up, and that one should approach every relationship and love story without any judgment. I just hope that message could’ve been delivered more effectively with better story-telling.